Bachelor Mother (1939)

Among the great films Hollywood gave the world 75 years ago, in 1939, was this surprisingly trenchant romantic comedy that proved a watershed in the careers of its two stars. For leading lady Ginger Rogers, this story of a shop girl mistaken for the mother of an abandoned child was her first film since the end of her partnership with Fred Astaire. Though she had already scored on her own in Vivacious Lady (1938), this film’s success proved that she didn’t have to dance backwards in high heels to be a star. For David Niven, playing the boss’s son who falls for Rogers while thinking her a fallen woman proved he was leading man material. (RKO had given him the role after Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. proved unavailable.) Although BACHELOR MOTHER earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Story, it was actually a remake of a German film from 1935. Norman Krasna’s adaptation made it distinctly American, while throwing in some astute observations of the status of working women and the American idolatry of family life.

Dir. Garson Kanin

In attendance: Greg Proops